Ronald dworkin on abortion and assisted suicide

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4 Scopus citations


In the first part of this article, I raise questions about Dworkin's theory of the intrinsic value of life and about the adequacy of his proposal to understand abortion in terms of different ways of valuing life. In the second part of the article, I consider his argument in "The Philosophers' Brief on Assisted Suicide", which claims that the distinction between killing and letting die is morally irrelevant, the distinction between intending and foreseeing death can be morally relevant but is not always so. I argue that the killing/letting die distinction can be relevant in the context of assisted suicide, but also show when it is not. Then I consider why the intention/foresight distinction can be morally irrelevant and conclude by presenting an alternative argument for physician-assisted suicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • Abortion
  • Doctrine of double effect
  • Intending and foreseeing death
  • Intrinsic value
  • Inviolability
  • Killing and letting die
  • Physician-assisted suicide
  • The philosophers' brief on assisted suicide
  • Value of life


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